Leveraging the mobile context has a positive effect on the mobile user experience. As described in the essay The Mobile Context, the mobile context is defined as:

“The user’s mobile context can be defined as the set of and the intersection between facts, events, circumstances, and information that surrounds the (mobile) user at a given point in time.”

But what are the benefits (positive effects) of the mobile context in the user experience? The list below describes some of these effects:

  • Informative
  • Timely
  • Accurate information (accuracy)
  • Useful information (relevant)
  • Connected (to friends and family, and other)
  • Dynamic (always changing)
  • Adaptive (to current circumstances)
  • Transformational (promotes behavioral changes)

The above characteristics define a framework (or the elements of a model) for the effects of the mobile context. The above list should grow as more elements for this model are ‘discovered’.

One thing I would like to mention is that one of the beauties of the mobile context is that can be applied differently (yet similarly), to different circumstances or “verticals”. It is up to the reader to go over such mental exercise.

Learning about the Mobile Context

How to learn about context it all depends on the ability to access such context information; some is found locally, while other is found remotely, or both.

Pushing “context learning” to the edge, this is, to the handset itself or closer to the handset, is the preferred way. But the truth is that it is irrelevant from the user’s perspective, except (potentially) for privacy and cost of operation (such as data plans, per message costs) considerations. For some centralizing such personal/private information can be cause of paranoia; I refer to this as the Google effect — see Google owns you (and me too). The goal is to find the right balance between local and remote access to such context information, for the purposes of privacy, security, operational cost, computational cost, and latency…


(I’ve updated The Mobile Context to include this new section on the effects of the mobile context.)